When buying software, one is likely to trust that the software being purchased is a secure product that runs well. This faith may come from the fact that the source code – the digital DNA that tells the program how to work and what to do – is hidden from consumers. In most cases, only the select programmers tasked with maintenance and security can see it and make changes.
Closed or proprietary code is the engine of vendor-made products. Many of them, like Microsoft’s nearly ubiquitous Windows software, are closed code to prevent piracy and duplication by competitors or users. And for some license owners, the perceived benefit of closed code is that if no one sees it, those who intend to do harm can’t see the software’s vulnerabilities easily.
The prevalence of open source code, however, could make one wonder how much secret code matters. The term “open source” generally refers to programs in which people can view or modify the programming code. Open code is developed in a collaborative environment where programmers can make changes that are visible for the community to see.
One of the major benefits of open source software (OSS) is the public collaboration behind each project. Most open source projects are created by tens of thousands of programmers all collaborating to create, and improve upon, a flawless website framework. Open source software promotes software reliability and quality by supporting independent peer review and rapid evolution of source code.
Secondly, a firm using open source software doesn’t need to depend on a single development company. In fact, any open source friendly company can easily work on your website since many developers are already 100% knowledgeable with your software framework. Therefore, you don’t have to be bound to a single development company unlike as is the case with proprietary software.
Thirdly, using an open source solution is not entirely free, but it is considerably less expensive than other commercially-licensed solutions. There are no license fees with open source software since you are free to prototype, develop, and even deploy without paying a cent to a vendor. Open source projects, owned by the community, have significantly small IT footprints resulting in lower hardware costs and other technology adoption costs. With the software freely available, you are able to purchase just the services that you need, without being locked into comprehensive software-services bundles with lengthy and costly contracts.
Lastly, closed-source software forces its users to trust the vendor when claims are made for qualities such as security, freedom from vulnerabilities, adherence to standards and flexibility in the face of future changes. If the source code is not publicly available those claims remain simply claims. By publishing the source code, authors make it possible for users of the software to have confidence that there is a basis for those claims.
One of the most common concerns most often raised with open source software is of website security. If thousands of developers can view my source code, is my website safe? Users of the open source software, without any doubt, say “Absolutely!” The website source code only contains the logic and functionality for the website. All database and server login/password credentials are safely stored on the server where no one can access them.
People or corporations often get concerned if any other person could change their website. The answer is NO. Open source is publicly available software, but it still downloaded and individually setup for each website. Your website is powered by your source code that you own! Only individuals that have access to your hosting server can make source code changes to your website.
In a country like Pakistan, having open source software will be better than closed source software because of the cost or license fee of the propriety software. Additionally, it is believed that the open source can be beneficial in promoting efficiency and productivity. With technology spreading rapidly all over the country, organizations shouldn’t adopt OSS based on what other organizations do. Instead, decision makers should carefully consider the organizational specifics before deciding whether to adopt. They shouldn’t take widely claimed advantage, or disadvantages, of OSS for granted, but should rather investigate how each of these claims could manifest itself in an organization-specific context.
For organizations that are new to OSS, they should first adopt only mature OSS infrastructure software such as Linux and Apache. These packages are well known and generally considered mature. Consequently, the conflicting evidence will be limited. Because OSS is a global phenomenon, cultural differences are likely to impact the adoption decision. The adoption of OSS in other regions might be subject to different expectations and results. So, decision makers should pay attention to their local context when deciding whether to adopt OSS.